How To Read The Behavior Overview | Reading Analytics 101

How To Read The Behavior Overview | Reading Analytics 101

Google’s Behavior Reports are essential for anyone using Analytics. Information in these reports will tell you a lot about how users are interacting with your site and its content. While it’s important to learn the more detailed elements of these reports, the Behavior Overview is a good place to start.

Let’s take a look at how to read the Behavior Overview report in Google Analytics, what you can learn, and what you can do with that information.

Using Trend Lines In The Behavior Overview

The first section you’ll see in the Behavior Overview report is a line graph. This graph shows you trends for different page metrics over time. At the top right, you can set the time window for the metrics you want.

The trend lines in the behavior overview can give you a good general idea of how different metrics on your site are faring.
Image courtesy of David Straughan/Google Analytics

Under the Overview tab, you can select the metric you want to view. You can also select a second metric to compare it to. Just click “Select a metric” to choose a comparison metric.

You might want to do this if, for example, you’ve implemented a new paid social campaign. When you run ads to promote content, you will undoubtedly see a boost in traffic. But not all traffic is valuable traffic.

If you are seeing a rise in visits coupled with a rise in bounce rate, that means that although people are clicking on your content, they aren’t very interested in what they see. No matter what your business is, that’s poor quality traffic.

Use comparison metrics in the Behavior Overview to help you make decisions about content planning and promotions.

Reading the Statistics Overview

In the next section, you will see five different overall statistics unless you’ve segmented your audience or added a second metric. These statistics give you an overview of how users are interacting with your site overall.

The Statistics Overview section gives you a generalized look at the Behavior Overview
Image courtesy of David Straughan/Google Analytics

We covered a few of these terms earlier, but here is what each of these metrics is telling you.

Pageviews – This number is the total number of times people have visited your page. It includes repeat visits.

Unique pageviews This is the number of sessions in which people viewed your page. It does not include repeat visits within a certain timeframe.

Average time on page – This number tells you how much time, in minutes and seconds, users spent on average on your page.

Bounce Rate – Your Bounce Rate is the percentage of sessions in which visitors left without interacting with your site.

% Exit Also known as your exit rate, % Exit tells you the percentage of people that left your website from a particular page.

The targets for all of these metrics vary wildly depending on your industry, the amount of paid marketing you do, and the size of your business. There is quite a bit of research on the internet that provides industry-specific data, but ultimately your data and the solutions you create from it will be unique to you and your business.

Reading the Content Breakdown Section of the Behavior Overview

The final section of the Behavior Overview is the content breakdown. This gives you a glimpse into which pages are generating the most traffic. You can also learn the percentage of total traffic a page generates.

Image courtesy of David Straughan/Google Analytics

On the left side of this section, you’ll see different categories under Site Content. These will give you different ways of organizing, viewing, and grouping content for easy analysis. You can even create custom groups of content if you have regular sections you want to monitor.

The table organizes content by page title by default. However, people less familiar with the back end of their site might prefer to organize by page title.

You can also see how different search terms are performing on your site’s internal search tool. In addition, you can see which actions people are taking on your site by clicking on “Event Category.” This will show you the top things people are clicking on or filling out on your site.

This section is especially useful if you want to take a quick look at which pages on your site are the most popular. You’ll need to do a little more digging to understand why. However, if you’re looking to start a paid promotional campaign, such as Google Ads or social media marketing, your top performers are a good place to start.

What’s Next?

Once you’ve mastered the Behavior Overview report in Google Analytics, you’ll be ready to start getting into the more detailed elements of Behavior Reports. But don’t discount what you can learn from the Behavior Overview. It can give you a quick insight into where your strengths are and how you can play to them.

For more digital marketing advice, stay tuned to our Business section for regularly updated tips, tricks, and guides.

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